Family, History and Love

Wanda and I have been discussing, of late, the need to set down in writing some portion of our family history so that in the future our children and grandchildren will have the stories and tales of our lives direct from the source. The technophile that I am, I choose to do this online so that the what we write will be accessible and available for comment to our wider family (though I reserve the right to moderate those comments).

To that end, I have repurposed this blog. In coming posts, we will endeavor to provide an abridged story of our life (hey, everyone has their secrets). We're writing this for our children and their children and those that come later so elements of these tales will be familiar only to our family,

Thursday, July 20, 2006

Catching Up

Obviously, it’s been a while since I wrote. Since the trip to Hawaii in April, life has been quite busy. Hawaii was a lot of fun. We spent 5 days on the Big Island and 5 days on Kauai. I thought Kauai was much more scenic than the Big Island, but both locations were a lot of fun.

On the Big Island we hiked in Volcano National Park and drove down the Chain of Craters to the shore where the lava was flowing into the sea. Although we couldn’t get close enough to see the actual hot lava hitting the sea, the steam cloud and the lava cliffs were quite impressive.

We also went to a traditional luau with pit roasted pig and all the trimmings. This was followed by a demonstration of local and South Pacific dances. A couple of days later we went on a dinner cruise along the Kona Coast. I was able to shoot the sunset from the ship as well as the shoreline in the evening light.

I think the best activity, though, was snorkeling in Kealakekua Bay. This is the bay where Captain Cook was killed, and indeed there is a monument to his memory located on the shore. The entire bay is an underwater wildlife preserve, and there was lots to be seen.

On Kauai the highlights were the helicopter tour we took around the island, and our ride up to Wamea Canyon. We stayed in a lovely condo overlooking a garden, and we found that the beaches in Kauai were much prettier than those on the Big Island.

On the return from Hawaii, it was time to get the yards and the house ready for summer activities. The deck had to be washed and painted, the hot tub drained and refilled, new flower beds built in the yards, a new grill to break in (yeah!), new window shades to hang, a bench had to be pulled out and replaced and new decorations for the yard had to be purchased and hung. The kitchen got new tile, the garage got a total overhaul, new sprinkler heads were installed in the in-ground system, and then everything was ready for our first event.

That event was a baby shower for our youngest daughter. We had quite a few people over for the shower, and we all had a really good time.

In June, our first grandchild was born (after 29 hours of labor and finally a c-section). Her name is Makayla Ann Nicole and she is, of course, adorable. A lot of my time has been spent getting to know her.

The 4th of July meant we held our annual Independence Day Cookout. This was the largest one ever. We had 31 adults and 8 children in attendance, with lots of food and drinks. Many of us tried a game of Ultimate Frisbee, but we wore ourselves out after about 30 minutes and had to switch to a game we call “500”.

Well, that gets us up to the Oregon Country Fair weekend, and I want to write about that separately. I’ll add some photos later.

Friday, April 14, 2006

Am I a Blogger, or Am I Not?

I do like to write. I take some small amount of pride in my ability to put together words to illustrate concepts, convey ideas and thoughts, and to make a coherent argument. I’m a fairly social person in that I enjoy the company of others and I like to talk and learn from people around me. As a youth, I exchanged letters with people from around the world. I had penpals in France, England, Australia and throughout the US. Indeed, I continued my letter exchanges throughout my military career. When I was deployed, I not only received letters from my family, but from my many friends around the world. But, as much as I like to write, I just can’t seem to get this blogging process to flow smoothly and easily.

As anyone can see, my entries are inconsistent. I don’t think my life is that boring, but perhaps I’m not willing to share those things in my life that are interesting. I enjoy sharing my photography, but I don’t shoot everyday. When I do shoot, sometimes I’m not prepared to share the subjects with the rest of the virtual world. So, my dilemma is whether to continue to maintain this journal (and intensify the efforts I’m putting into it) or to call it quits and to move on to something new and different.

In the meantime, I just got a new toy. It’s a 60 GB iPod. I previously had a 1st generation 20GB iPod, but my music library has grown too large to be entirely contained within 20GB. So, I decided to upgrade and add the ability to show both photos and videos on the device. It works great, and it also synchs with my iCal and Address Book programs. This is going to be very convenient on my trip to Hawaii later this month.

Wednesday, February 01, 2006

Winter Blues

IMG_9338 (93k image)It has been a long, wet winter so far. The Northwest is always cloudy and wet during the winter time, but this has absolutely been the wettest winter I've encountered in the nearly 10 years I've lived in Oregon. Storm system after storm system have been hitting the West Coast with only a scattering a clear weather between each system. I swear I can see each new system looming over the mountains of the Coastal Range to the west, yet when I look to the east I can see the remnents of the last system lingering in the Cascades.

At least it has been fairly warm though. Most mornings it's about 44 degrees, and during the day the temperature creeps up into the high 40's or low 50's. I guess that's not bad for the middle of winter north of the 45th parallel. I do wish it would clear up for a couple of days though. I'd love to get my camera out and shoot in some decent light. I have a couple of new L lenses I've been wanting to use, but the heavy overcast and continuous rain (plus the early sunsets) give little opportunity for interesting subjects.

The photo to the left was taken a couple of winters ago when it was drier and colder. These clouds were the remnent of a storm that dumped quite a bit of snow at moderate elevations. Above a thousand feet there was lots of snow, but at about five hundred feet and below, it was just rain - hence the lack of snow on the roof of the building.

It would be fun to get away to the coast for a weekend to shoot the stormy weather and the ocean waves. Newport Bay is always fun for that, but Florence is nice too (besides there are friends there). Life keeps intruding though and weekend plans never seem to work out. Maybe I'll get some good rain gear for my birthday next week and that will help me gather the nerve to challenge the elements. I'd love to shoot Ecola Point and Canon Beach in stormy weather.

I'd also like to find a couple of new models. I'd like the challenge of learning to shoot someone new. After working with a model for a while, you learn their best poses and which poses work best for what situations and settings for them. You develop a rapport with the model that allows the shoot to proceed with minimal verbal communication and the model learns to anticipate your requests and to move smoothly from one pose to another. Shooting a model in the rain is fun - shooting by yourself in the rain isn't so much fun.

Spring begins next month, so with any luck we'll get an early break from the rain. With all the winter precipitation, the mountain snowpack is heavy and that means wonderful waterfalls during the spring melt. Winter Falls at Silver Springs State Park should be great this year. So maybe I should stop complaining and start planning.

Tuesday, January 03, 2006

Back to Work

I made it back to the office today. It was actually nice to be sitting at my desk, fielding phone calls, running meetings, and preparing for the intellectual challenges of the new business year. Today wasn’t terribly busy. My department usually ramps up slowly after the Christmas holidays, simply due to the nature of our business (training). So I had plenty of time to collect my thoughts and ponder the changes I want to make in my programs in the near future.

I also thought about changes I wanted to make in my personal life as well. I didn’t make any formal resolutions, but there are things I would like to do differently this year, such as:

1. Get out more during the winter. Normally when the days are short and it’s wet and windy outside, we hibernate. By that I mean, once we get home from work, we turn on the tv and basically vegetate for the rest of the evening. I just hate that. So, I want to get out more. We can still go out for coffee, or to the bookstore, or to the gym. There’s no need to just come inside and hide.
2. I want to take more, better and varied photographs this year. I want to do more that just go to the fairs and festivals. We do have a trip to Hawaii planned, and I’m sure I’ll get lots of photos then, but more importantly, I want to be a more frequent photographer. I want to get out twice or thrice a week with camera in hand to photograph scenery, people, places, and nature. I need to expand my skills and challenge myself with new assignments.
3. I want to complete at least two photo expeditions this year (not including Hawaii). One of those will be to return to Crater Lake National Park and to travel around the rim photographing the sites from several angles. I’m not sure what the other expedition will be, but I’m thinking it will be to photograph at least 6 new waterfalls somewhere in the state (not any of the falls in the Columbia River Gorge or in Silver Falls State park).
4. I want to complete at least two significant hikes - Dog Mountain and Eagle Creek come to mind, but Saddle Mountain in the Coastal Range would be nice too.
5. I want to photograph in the following areas this year: The Columbia River Gorge, Silver Falls State Park, Ecola Point, Cannon Beach, Seaside, Astoria, Brandon Beach, Munsie Falls, and the Mt Hood Wilderness area.

So, I think my expectations are reasonable. Maybe at the end of the year I’ll post a review to see how well I did against the list.